Is Living Together Before Marriage Linked to Divorce?

So, you met the love of your life – your soul mate. You are deeply in love and thinking about cohabiting before marriage. Is this a good idea? Let’s explore some facts.

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Several decades ago, living together before getting hitched was a taboo. Nowadays, many couples are choosing to live with their significant other before committing. Between 1965 and 1974, only 11% of women cohabited with their partners before marriage. The number has risen significantly to 69% between 2010 and 2013.  However, recent studies are out to discourage this trend of porno.

Theories Associated With Living Together Before Marriage

There are 3 major theories explaining the impact of living together before getting hitched. Here is a summary of the theories.

1.      Inertia Effect

Engaged couples should beware of the inertia effect. In this case, couples who live together before engagement have a higher risk for divorce. On the other side, cohabiting after divorce doesn’t significantly impact the chances of separation.

The theory shows that couples who live together before their engagement might have entered a commitment level before ensuring that their goals align. Therefore, this puts them at a higher risk of divorce or marital dissatisfaction.

To establish this theory, a study was conducted in the US, involving 1,050 married women and men between 18 and 34. It established that:

  • 43% of the participants who lived together before their engagement had lower marital satisfaction and were likelier to get divorced than the 16% who cohabited after getting engaged.
  • 18.7% who cohabited before engagement suggested getting separated or divorced at some point in their marriage, compared to 10.2% who didn’t live together before getting hitched.
  • 12.3% of those who cohabited after engagement suggested divorce at some point in their union.  

2.      Sliding vs. Deciding

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The theory deals with how couples commit to the relationship. Some plan on being together after evaluating their compatibility. Others “slide” into the next stage because of the inconvenience of breaking up.

A study involving 1,300 people in opposite-sex relationships in the US concluded that:

  • 70% of the couples lived together before tying the knot.
  • 40% of the partners cohabited in their past relationships.
  • Those among the 40% who married the subsequent partners who they had lived with before marriage reported low levels of marital quality

Many of the couples who had cohabited before marriage said it just happened, thus indicating a “slide” into commitment. Couples who planned on moving in together after establishing that their future goals were aligning reported higher marital satisfaction levels.

3.      The Experience Of Cohabiting Changes Things

In an older study, the researchers concluded that living together before marriage changes marriage and divorce perspectives. It might even lower esteem for marriage, thus making divorce seem acceptable.

The findings are consistent with many psychology studies showing that attitudes are directly related to behavior. In other words, you might change your beliefs to suit your behavior.

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Should You Live With Your Partner Before Marriage?

The answer is yes and no. Several factors can lead to divorce. However, the findings show that couples should have an honest and transparent conversation before cohabiting. Couples who live together seem to have a better outcome when they make a clear commitment to each other. So, the decision on whether to cohabit lies with you as a couple.